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49ers vs. Cardinals: Timing is Everything

How will our off time affect play calling on Monday night?

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

It's interesting to think that at the start of the Cardinals game, it will have been over ten days since the 49ers last played a game. Couple that with the fact that the 49ers have a bye week before playing the Rams, and this stretch of our schedule just gets a little crazier.

Here's the thing, though, with how mad genius we have seen Harbaugh get, will this change the way he coaches? It might. It might not. To be frank, it's something of a fruitless question. That man holds all of his cards close to the vest. That vest is also woven from the hair of his vanquished foes, so there you go. More than likely we won't know until game time.

That said, I want to propose a sort of mind challenge/puzzle. If you were coaching, what would you do differently this game, knowing that you had pretty much one game in three weeks or so? I'll present one scenario, because, let's be honest, there are a ton. In thinking about this article, my head was spinning.

I would like to use this game to set up the Rams game. They will likewise have a bye week to prepare for us after this week. Normally, it can be nice to have that extra week to prepare for another team, while they have to turn around and play having one less week of preparation. It is a bit frustrating that this advantage is negated by the Rams have a stupid bye week like us. I propose, therefore, that we throw around a few trick plays that will force the Rams to spend time preparing for useless crap. Moreover, it would be nice if these plays could take the ball out of Alex Smith's hands a bit so as to give that finger as much time to heal as possible.

Now, obviously this has to be good stuff. We can just run trick plays for the halibut. I mean, if they aren't working - well then, we have a problem. This isn't a must win game for us, but we should really beat the Cardinals. I want to stay in first place.

They nice thing, though, is that Harbaugh and company have already proven that they can utilize chicanery in successful ways. I'm thinking the passes to linemen that worked beautifully last year. Or maybe that wrap around run Alex had against the Saints for a touchdown that was arguably one of the most brilliantly designed and executed plays of the season. Okay, so these aren't technically "trick" plays - but this sort of outside the box thinking is what I mean.

On the other side of the ball, let's dial up some crazy blitzes. I mean, the type of blitzes that will give defensive coordinators nightmares for weeks on end. This, I think, has a couple of advantages. First off, it fits the general theme of forcing the Rams to seriously prepare for us. Moreover, though, the Cardinals have just a horrid o-line. If we can crush their spirits with epic sacks, then that should be a good game for us.

What are your thoughts on how we can use this fortuitous timing?